Monday, June 28, 2010
Make Your Own Kind of Music
A few years ago, almost by accident, I learned that listening to music while I write can spark tremendous creativity and inspire me to write words I didn’t even know I had in me. I was working on a new manuscript at the time and couldn't get past the first five chapters. I wasn’t even stuck in the middle; I was mired in the quicksand of a good idea that wasn’t turning out so hot on the page.
I was, however, determined not to give up on yet another almost manuscript. I decided to dig in, to stubbornly press on, and of course not much happened. Then I moved, and we all know how much writing usually gets done when a major life event occurs.
But, the move ended up providing me with a fresh start for my writing in a most unexpected way. I found the CDs for a music course I took in college again and feeling nostalgic I listened to the CDs. The CDs were filled with many of the classics, Mozart, Copeland, Smentana, Lidzt, and Brahms, to name just a few.
The music was powerful, emotional, compelling. It moved me, so I listened to it again and again, and then, almost like magic, the music and my characters began to fuse together and I finally I knew how to fix my story.
Life is tremendously busy these days and finding ways to write can be difficult. I’ve been trying to do at least an hour a day, no worries that the words are far from perfect, just as long as they reach the page. To keep me focused and motivated, I’ve been listening to tons of music while I write and I’m thankful to report the magic is still along for the ride.
For me, I think music gets all the parts I need to write (my head and my heart) headed in the same direction. Music is like a force of nature unto itself – it can move you physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. The word music finds its origins in the Greek word for muse, so I suppose it is no surprise it can be such an effective tool while writing.
I tend to stick to movie soundtracks, think Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, LOST (composer Michael Giacchino is a musical gem I would recommend to anyone), and Pride and Prejudice (2008), among many others, but depending on what I’m writing, more contemporary music can help to spark my imagination as well (thank you Coldplay, U2, Lifehouse, Sarah MacLachan, The Killers, and anything from the 60s and 70s).
Hey, it’s good to be eclectic.
I’m not one to give advice, but I hope if you ever get stuck with your writing, or if you never get stuck, but want to enhance your creativity, listen, really listen, to the music.